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June 20, 2022

What Is Schema For SEO And Do I Really Need It?

If you’ve heard the term ‘schema markup’ and are unsure as to what it’s all about (and whether you even need it on your website), this article is worth a read.

We’ll discuss schema for SEO, its purpose and why you should include it on your website.

What is schema for SEO?

Schema (also referred to as structured data) is a code that you add to your website, which the search engine algorithms use to interpret, understand and categorise information.  They then display this additional information in the search results in the form of rich snippets, giving searchers more detailed and accurate information about a particular website.

Here are some examples of rich snippets

FAQ Schema

Review Schema and Price Schema

Recipe Schema

Product Schema

It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple when you unpack all the elements.

As smart as the search engines are, they can’t make sense of all the nuances of human language and the context of every page on a website.  They need a little extra help understanding the content so that they can display it in a helpful way.  This help comes in the form of ‘semantic vocabulary’ which is the computer’s language or code.

Who developed schema?

It’s always surprising when competitors collaborate, but it made perfect sense for Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex to get together to create something that would benefit them – as well as benefit all internet users.

The result of their collaboration was this special vocabulary called Schema.org, developed to help them understand and categorise online content.  

Why you need schema for SEO

The online marketplace is hugely competitive.  Websites are vying for the searchers’ attention and it’s not easy to stand out from the clutter.  Schema helps you do just that.

Because schema enables additional information about your content to be displayed in the search results, people can see this information at a glance and use it to make decisions about which content they want to click on.  The more relevant and useful the information they see in the rich snippets, the more likely searchers will choose your search result over one that displays less detail. 

Get schema. Get found. Get seen.  Get clicks.  Simples!

Schema helps you control how your brand appears in search results

First impressions count.  You want to grab the searcher’s attention right from the start, otherwise you risk losing them to a competitor.

Schema enables you to optimally manage your brand’s appearance in the search results.   A normal search result contains a title, a URL and a meta description.  Adding structured data to your website enables the search engines to produce rich results which contain additional information such as visuals, FAQs, special events, reviews, ratings, price, new product releases etc.

This information adds detail and personality to your brand, plus it adds value to the searcher.

What types of things does schema apply to?

Schema markups can be used to communicate many different types of information.  It all depends on what will appeal to your target market.  The good news is that it’s not set in stone either – you can always make changes and additions, depending on what you want to achieve.

Here are some of the most common ways that schema markups are used:

  • Reviews and ratings (give an instant snapshot of how your business is perceived by the market)
  • Product information and special offers (helps you stand out from the competition)
  • Events (draw people into your website with news and info about a special event, such as the date, location, cost, guest speaker etc)
  • Recipes (entice searchers to click through with comprehensive ingredient information, reader ratings etc)
  • FAQs (shows questions that users are likely to need answering related to their keyword search)

Do I really need schema on my website?

Schema markup should be part of every SEO strategy.  The more the search engines understand your content, the more discoverable your website becomes and the greater your chances of appearing in relevant searches.  It might not influence your rankings but it will definitely influence your findability and SEO is all about getting found online. And, why wouldn’t you want to do something that research has shown to increase organic traffic by up to 30%?

Just getting started with SEO – check out my free SEO Starter kit.

Already have some SEO knowledge but keen to find out how to add schema markup to your website?  Why not look at The SEO School – a hugely popular online course for people wanting to take charge of their own SEO.  The self-guided course has been expertly designed to provide participants with a wide range of practical tools, techniques and trade secrets so that they can supercharge their SEO as they progress through the modules.  Find out more at The SEO School.

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